Arkansas court to hear arguments over LGBT protections

January 4, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ highest court will hear arguments next month in a legal battle over whether a whether a city’s ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity conflicts with a state law aimed at blocking local protections for gays and lesbians.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hold oral arguments Feb. 2 in the state’s appeal of a Washington County judge’s decision upholding Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The judge last year ruled the ordinance doesn’t run afoul of a state law barring cities and counties from prohibiting discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.

Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity. But supporters of the ordinance have noted other parts of Arkansas law include protections for LGBT people.

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